Empowering Women Pt. I

beyonceWhen it comes to yoga, I think about the divine power and strength that all living things possess. On a regular basis you’ll hear me say to students, YOU are ENOUGH. Always. I mean that. You are strong, you are brilliant, you are great and powerful and carry the spark of the whole universe within you. It’s what makes us all the same. It’s what makes us so resilient.

So, how is it that we as women struggle with this so often? Body image. Careers. Lifestyle. I know men deal with pressures of life as well, but there’s a whole set of expectations created by the media and pop culture that makes it even more challenging for the gender that makes more than half the population of the world. See below:

World 6,895,889,018 female 3,477,829,638 male

Where does this come from? Why am I speaking up now? Well, this may come as a shock to some of you but I’m expecting. AKA, I AM PREGNANT. My husband and I are very excited but theres been this fear of sharing our news. Is it too soon? Am I going to miscarry? I hear such facts as 1 in 4 women will experience miscarriage…I am not certain that’s true.

Here is some information: 15-20% of pregnancies will end in miscarriage, 80% of these occur in the first trimester. Much of this dependent on medical history and individual factors. Some suggest not sharing until you’re out of the first trimester and maybe that’s because dealing with the repercussion of losing the pregnancy could be devastating. My thought is I would rather share my news and if this ends sadly for us then I have a community that can support me. I can be honest with them rather than pretend that everything is okay when it isn’t AND I get to own my pregnancy. It’s not something to be hidden. I feel empowered when I share my news with those around me. I refuse to live in fear.

This is the most complicated, draining, rollercoaster ride I have been on. I am tired, I am freakishly nauseous and then I have moments of strength and normalcy that return. I need to get subs for classes, sometimes last minute, after sleeping poorly and waking up so ill that getting out of bed seems like a challenge. Other moments I feel like myself and I am trying to work through the symptoms cause no one really tells you how hard this can be. Not to mention all the things I loved just a couple months ago no longer appeal to me, eating is different, activity is limited, even what I drink depends on how I am feeling.

I like to think that I am tough, physically and mentally, yet this has been one extremely trying phase in my life. Those women who shine bright in pregnancy, lucky you, the rest of us that are human – this is an adventure I want to be honest about – rather than sugarcoat it so I can make those around me feel better. I don’t know how I’ll feel day-to-day or from one moment to the next. I do know that when I tell people they are truly excited for me and my growing family…students, family , friends, strangers, they are all thrilled. If I had to tell them later that something went wrong in a world with Zika and a variety of other possibilities I may need support. I may not want to be around others. I may want to be cuddled and brought pints of ice cream. What I know is that as women we need to be empowering one another not frightening ourselves that we may “jinx” ourselves. I know I feel stronger and more capable with the support of those around me. I  know that every time someone is excited for my news I shine a little brighter. I know that my STATE OF MIND effects my baby, my pregnancy and now more than ever I need to feel empowered.

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A place to start…

Washing our faces, you’d think it would be easy by now…humans made the wheel, we discovered fire, I mean really – how hard could it be?! From what I hear people seemed challenged by this task. What do I use? How often should I be doing this? Why?

I don’t think the act of washing one’s face is what people struggle with. It’s about understanding the benefits: prolong signs of aging, prevent blemishes, preventing dehydration of face + lips, reducing oiliness and so many more. To clean your face you don’t need fancy things. In my first blog post I shared one of my favorite products – Skinny Coconut Oil – like cleans like, oil rids oil. #science

My first trick isn’t really a trick, it’s committing to the cause. What you put in you get out. I typically start my daytime routine with my Clarisonic – two minute setting. I travel with it, everywhere, even 20 minutes to the westside when we stay with my husband’s family. I keep multiple cleansers in the shower to use with it. Right now I have Jurlique Balancing Cleanser (the link takes you to an newer version of the cleanser than what I have) and Peter Thomas Roth Anti-aging Cleanser. I recently went through my  Perricone MD Citrus Facial Wash (loved it!) on deck to replace it is the Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser. A brand I recently heard some buzz about, especially this face wash, I’m excited to see how it works!

Why all the options?  First, I’m in my thirties – it is NOT too soon to add anti-aging into my regimen. Second, I am a woman and my hormones fluctuate as well as my lifestyle (like eating a corn dog and taffy at the State Fair), I may need something to counter my body’s reactions. Third, my job exposes me to different elements and that can vary significantly during some seasons. Finally, I DO wear makeup occasionally – a full face of it – and my skin might break out if I haven’t washed my brushes in a couple weeks. I take these things into consideration from day-to-day & seasonly. One morning may call for deep cleaning while another (day after a facial) I may go with something more gentle.

I learned about properly cleaning my face by reading various articles as a youth and decided then – if I had ANY role in the condition of my skin I would try. I read: wash at night before bed…ALWAYS TAKE YOUR MAKE UP OFF. This rule is a game changer. I followed through and saw the benefits early on. I rarely wear makeup (#joblove) but I do need to wash off the sweat + dirt from the day so I can go with a simpler cleanser at night.

If you thought this was a lot, please stop reading. NOW. Skip to last paragraph 🙂 ***PRODUCT JUNKIE ALERT****

Sometimes I don’t want all the suds so I use the oil, if my skin is in need of something a little more “aggressive” I’ll use DERMADOCTOR Wrinkle Revenge® 1 which I apply onto dry skin and work in then add water. I also use AMOREPACIFIC Treatment Enzyme Peel which is a powder, add a little water + create soft suds then apply to face, gentle but effective. Like I mentioned earlier, the Oil I use to clean goes directly on the skin and is wiped off with a hot, wet rag after a 30 second compress.

Let it simmer. What I do may seem a bit extreme, but I loved to learn about my skin to and I also love product. (I warned you, #productjunkie). I may have a couple containers full of samples which could some day lead me to my next favorite product – go to Sephora online or stop in at Eva Maison and they’ll hook you up. I may end up with a blemish here and there but this is what works for me. I enjoy the process so I am more likely to follow through. Guys and girls alike, use this at your own discretion. My advice: start simple.

If you’re thinking – this girl says she’s a yogi, does she even understand the meaning of aparigraha (non-possessiveness) or brahmacharya (moderation)? I acquired all of these items over a period of time. It doesn’t cause me pain when I run out, I actually find myself delighted at the opportunity to try something new. My purchases last a long time since I vary in what I use. My friends lovingly joke that getting ready at my house is like visiting the spa, and maybe that’s what I love…that feeling that comes over me as I practice self care. If you need me to say it, to each their own, mine just happens to [currently] include five different types of face wash 🙂

Thanks for sticking it out.

Love & Gratitude,

Xp

What is Yoga?

Just a few days ago, we started our first day of Yoga Teacher Training. Honestly, I was so excited + terrified that my eye was twitching from the Wednesday before until the morning we started. It was not fear of content or the students, but something deeper…my body was letting me know with those little (annoying) flutterings of my right eyelid.

WTF?! Even in my ‘honest’ words I could say I was nervous, but tried to act calm and collected, my body was saying YOU ARE BLOODY TERRIFIED!! “You don’t know what you’re doing.” “Why the hell did you ever think you could do this?” Even if I wouldn’t let those thoughts come to the forefront of my mind, I was fearful of failure and letting those around me down, so my body was responding. And as if the Universe knew just what I needed, I came across this “Thoughts are the sensations of the mind, and sensations are the thoughts of the body” in our reading from the week – Judith Laster‘s book Living Your Yoga (she is one of the most epic of all time!!). Just like that, it all slid into place. Since we started Sunday I haven’t had any eye twitching 🙂 I was letting fear exist in my mind and my body was responding, after my mind found peace so did my body.

When we try to deceive ourselves, our body will respond. When we go too hard or aren’t honoring ourselves authentically something will force the body into listening. You are forced to stop and take a good hard look at what’s going on NOW. Then it becomes a matter of choice, are you ready to listen? I often tell my students who are injured or suffering when life has challenged them – it’s the Universe presenting them with an opportunity to look through a different lens. I’m not saying you should have torn your ACL, MCL and Meniscus – but maybe it’s time to see your practice as a beginner once again. Remind yourself why you keep coming back to your mat & what you can learn from this new perspective. Often times these challenges are opportunities that will us into remembering – we are enough, ALWAYS – and to check in with that. THIS is what yoga teaches us. In my case, after a few deep breaths with each twitch, let the fear or anxious feelings subside and there I was back to my (mostly) normal self. Applying my yoga while thinking about my yoga 🙂 #ironicbutnotironic

This week’s theme was based around the question of many lifetimes, “what is yoga?” and in all honesty, these students are truly brilliant. #blessed What they each spoke to resonated with me and I believe it resonated with all of them. It was the feelings behind their unique descriptions that were similar and what made it so powerful.

So, what is yoga? I cannot define it for you, we each have our own personal spin on this. Yoga to me is contentment. It is the feeling of knowing that “I got this” when life is tough, it’s the feeling of remaining calm when sh*t hits the fan, the idea that when I “see red” over something horrific or devastatingly upsetting, I remember I am human and these are my lessons to learn and that eventually the sensations will subside. I come back to my True Self and I find peace in knowing the Universe wants me to flourish. The more I live my life in honor of my light, the Universe will support me, and the easier my yoga comes to me.

Yoga is more than a word that is derived from Sanskrit. It is more than the poses on your mat. It isn’t just a few things, it’s EVERYTHING. Embody this practice into your life and you will become your yoga – in your relationships, in your career, as you do chores – everywhere. YOUR yoga awaits you dearest lights. When faced with life’s challenges, ask yourself if you’re living from love or fear? Catch yourself in the present moment with the chatter of your mind and see if you can make the shifts so you are more often living from that source of grace + compassion and not out of the fear. Rinse. Repeat.

You are always in possession of everything you need, you carry it with you at all times. Please, if anything, remember that you are loved. Our experiences do not define us but they help us find our beautiful True Self that has and will ALWAYS be there. Think of all the things that bring you joy and those moments you feel fulfilled (not like bank account fulfilled, but where you feel ease within) and use those to set the tone for your life…that is your yoga. Namaste.

Self Care

The importance of Self Care is hardly a new concept. In my last post I had committed to blogging weekly about product…then life happened. The 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 kicked off the busiest summer yet. I was in a wedding, got married in two weeks (I am NOT expecting!), prepping to be in another wedding and have been co-planning our very first Yoga Teacher Training which starts in less than a week! Now that most of those things  have settled I’ve decided to get back to doing a little bit more of what I do well: promote self care + share my favorite products.

Why should you keep reading? What makes me think I’m any good at this? Yesterday confirmed my thoughts (and likely inspired me to write today). I was at the mall and decided to share my unsolicited opinion with two different women while waiting in line (in two different stores) and they both took my advice! Why would these strangers do that? Likely, because I shared the information authentically or I must look really trustworthy lol. #ishouldgetpaidforthis Also, I have plenty of friends that ask for my advice so I figured I should offer it up on a forum accessible to anyone that is interested.

Below I’ve broken down MY thoughts on this topic, this is no one else’s opinion but my own.

First – Self Care means INSIDE & OUT. It includes what you eat, the actions you take + don’t take, and how you treat your largest organ: your SKIN. Embrace the creepy: you want the guy from Silence of the Lambs to want to wear your skin as a jumpsuit, but not really. At best, you want to look five years younger without all the botox and fillers – it’s about aging gracefully. Genetics is a factor but a lot of this is controlled by you. You have to commit to making this a priority and no one else can do that for you. i.e. don’t smoke, drink in moderation, consume plenty of water & eat clean, whole foods – results from these healthier habits will quickly show up on the surface.

Second – fitness/activity are crucial. What do you do to stay active? walking? meditation? The brain needs love too! YOGA? running (i might vomit)? I encourage you to find something you love and commit to that even if it starts with 15 minutes every other day. I teach yoga and I mainly practice yoga. Sometimes I do something silly like Death by Burpees…never. again. If you like group classes check out Naptown Fitness for SWIFT, Yoga & CrossFit. COMMUNITY is major factor. It helps to be surrounded by like-minded peers.

Lastly – regimen. YOUR BODY IS A TEMPLE = treat it with respect. You must commit to the cause. Start simple. Find a few basic items and stick to it. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Before I scare you off with my daily routine, please note I started with washing and moisturizing twice a day. Then I added one more thing. And then one more. With time you’ll learn what does and doesn’t work for you, but it starts with trying.

Spilling the beans: I’ve become quite diligent and I wash my face every morning & night, followed by a toner, then I use Raw Sauce to help better absorb what I apply next – serum, eye cream, finally with moisturizer (one for day, another for night). The results were proof enough that I continued to follow this no matter how tired I was at night or how many glasses of wine I had consumed…impressively I have woken up with my face clean on nights I barely got my PJs on (AKA my bachelorette party). This took time + patience. I share my regimen with you because if I can do this, so can you. What works for me may not be right for you, but I hope it inspires you to create something of your own. I’m happier in my skin when I take the time to care of it, I hope you will find the same.

Top five products:

  1. Clarisonic – I use this EVERY DAY. I clean my brush weekly + replace my brush every four months. I swear by it.
  2. Cleanser – I keep at least two in my shower. What I use depends on what my skin needs at that time. I already shared Skinny Coconut Facial Oil but a product I highly recommend and have come back to over and over again is Peter Thomas Roth Anti-Aging Cleansing Gel.  I am prone to mild breakouts and sweat regularly. Works great with the Clarisonic.
  3. Toner – same as the cleansers, I have a few options. ALWAYS. I love Belif Witch Hazel Extract Toner because it doesn’t require cotton pads for applying and is a very CLEAN product. I’ll even apply some to my underarms after a shower because, why not?!
  4. I already listed the Raw Sauce above and it’s also been posted on my Instagram @ompurvi – check it out!
  5. Moisturizer – day + night. For day time, I highly recommend Farmacy Rise ‘N Shine Daily Moisture Lock and for night I love Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil with Trans-retinoic Acid Ester. If you’re sensitive to sun or retinol this may not be for you. I use it a couple times a week and notice a difference in my skin (the price point is higher but all together worth it, IMO).

These are mostly clean products. I try my best to avoid parabens, sulfates & phthalates but it doesn’t always work. Also, more products are becoming cruelty free and vegan. Take the time to read the labels & research the brands. Get to know what you’re using and if it fits your lifestyle. I like Sephora and Eva Maison because I can take something back if I don’t like it. The reviews can be helpful and you have the opportunity to give your own feedback.

What’s to come next? serums. eye creams. hair care. body scrubs. soaks. make up + brushes. removers. You name it, I’ll share my two cents. Stay tuned kiddos.

Xp

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married life #lovinit

Product Junkie

As many of you that know me can testify, I have a thing for products. beauty, health, apparel, wellness…you name it, I’m interested in learning more. This was one of those places I was hoping to start sharing some of my love for finding great toners, serums, moisturizers, eye creams, etc. and also start helping others that aren’t as inclined as I am to try, test, return and/or SPREAD THE GOSPEL of all things product.

The idea of Samyati – travel, wander, come together – is that we can do this within small spaces or across grand adventures. We come together in an effort to better understand wholeness, that’s our yoga, it reminds us that we are already whole on our own. As we dig deeper we learn more about ourselves. It is said ‘our body is a temple’, we host a divine spark within, let’s take care of this temple inside & out. Here we begin a journey bringing mindfulness to self-care, bringing those worlds a little closer together.

On a weekly basis I get at least one call or text, “Purv – I’m headed to Sephora can you tell me what moisturizer I should use?” or “hey Swerve, I’m going to Eva Maison any chance you could tell me about that product you love so much?”. This brings me true joy. I genuinely enjoy helping others in this area. I’m no expert but I’m definitely interested and it’s just one more opportunity for me to play. I love being able to encourage others to find what it is they seek whether it’s the best smudge-proof lipstick or how to find Salabhasana.

So, in an effort to hold myself accountable and also start putting my carefully honed skillz (yes, with a Z) to use, I’m going to start posting here – weekly – the things that fill my shelves & why, parts of my daily regimen & some other tidbits. I want to share what I love with YOU. I want you to feel inspired enough to ask questions, to learn more, so we can  best take care of ourselves inside and out.

Like I said before, I love to know about what i’m using and why. This is what inspires me to seek out and try things. I think that my youthfulness has been maintained due partly to genetics but also because I take very good care of my skin and my body. I hope to inspire you to do the same. Seriously, you can partner good skin care and yoga and you’ll look literally 21 for life (JK, that would be super boring).

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Several months ago I became obsessed with Skinny Coconut Oil Facial Oil. I’m already a fan of all things coconut but I’m super nervous about oils, particularly on my face since my pores are tiny and susceptible to clogging with impure oils. Needless to say, this was huge for me! It’s PH balanced with lavender and roman chamomile so I don’t have oily irritated skin.  FYI, I have combination skin on the regs – but the seasons change and do different things to my skin.

Words directly from their website: “Skinny Facial Oil with natural anti-microbial properties from our 100% RAW & pure coconut oil paired with calming lavender and chamomile essential oils has everything you need to cleanse, moisturize, & protect your skin”.

I most frequently use this as a nighttime cleanser. I occasionally moisturize with it. Since using this product twice-isa weekly my skin feels naturally healthier, ask my aesthetician  (she mentioned this past cold-ish Indiana winter my skin felt a little dry) I have had three appointments since and each time she’s mentioned how great my skin feels.  Plump, soft and not even a little dry. My skin is happy & healthy.

Directions: Rub a small amount of this oil in hands to melt and spread over face and decollate – avoid the eyes (especially if you wear contacts, this will be a lot less fun). Soak a washcloth in hot water, wringing out excess & hold towel on face for 30 second compress. *Sometimes I rewet the cloth to get it nice & warm to compress and wipe excess oil off.  **Follow with your favorite toner and serum then moisturize (with oil or something else).

Check it out. like it, love it or hate it – tell me about it! I’d love to hear your thoughts.

until next time friends – go (coco)nuts!

Xp

Sacred Space // Bhavana | भवन

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Here’s a piece I wrote for the Tree House Newsletter in February.  Hope you enjoy it 🙂

Just over a year ago I decided to finally do myself a favor and created a sacred space. I put a mat down in a room and claimed it my own. It started as just that, a mat in a room. And then it grew…a work desk and a dresser. The room itself is nothing huge, in fact it’s a converted spare bedroom, but it’s full of natural light, it has my yoga books, space for my mats (yes, plural) and a bamboo plant from my best friend. I have collected items from many I hold dear to my heart and made a small altar/bhavana* for myself where I place sacred items: a mala blessed by the Dalai Lama, my yoga Barbie from my bestie, a daily reading book, a meditation shawl from India when I did my 500 YTT and many other pieces.

This yoga/office/room has taken on a mind of it’s own over the course of time but it’s more about what has stayed the same that makes this room special. This space has a purpose, or more specifically a presence. No matter the distractions or challenges the day brings I can turn here and focus on two things: yoga and self. From this space many new lessons have blossomed.

It’s where I work out my work life yoga and also my personal yoga. I truly believe if we spend enough time with ourselves doing what we love, and sometimes doing them when we’re feeling too tired or too busy, we reap the greatest benefits. I encourage you to take the things you say you want to do and then go forth, and DO THEM.

My advice to you, number one: make some space that you can call your own and number two: spend some time there and learn about yourself. Create a sacred place for you to work on Self Knowledge. The Bhagavad Gita says to us, self-knowledge is spiritual knowledge. The more we connect to the divine within, the closer we find ourselves to true fulfillment. This is not the type that comes from the physical and tangible things we ‘think’ make us happy, it already exists within us. It is the thing that is always there and helps us find a greater happiness, one that doesn’t come from owning a fancy car, or not-so fancy car.

Embrace it. Empower yourself. Find yourself elevated by connecting with who you are in your truest nature: Pure Consciousness. From this empowerment you can create abundance for yourself and for those around you. My experiences prove this more with each day, so go out there make space for yourself. Watch life manifest itself and feel its abundance. Make space for you, whether it is a spare bedroom, a corner in your home, or just enough room to put down your mat.

Extend yourself a little more love so you can better extend love to all that is.

With Gratitude & love,

Xp

*term added: meaning a place to grow in this context.

(more) Love // prema || प्रेम

We are one month in and 2016 has probably kept most of us on our toes. The East Coast was hit with Jonas while the Midwest has been experiencing a heat wave – in both cases what I loved most was seeing people making the most of it. The Iowa Caucus and Donald Trump have been mentioned on all media platforms as we are continually reminded of the big Election year, this really excites some people. What I have been most excited about is that 2016 is a Leap Year! seriously. exclamation point needed. A WHOLE extra day. And just remember, a lot can happen in 24 hours.

Last week was pure chaos and somehow I managed to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have been working through the residual effects of Mercury in retrograde – a broken dishwasher repair which revealed a hole in our dry wall, a sudden plumbing incident that left our basement temporarily flooded and a tire that has been acting up resulting in taking my car to the dealership for TWO different tire issues. All of this with a pretty full schedule. There were tears, moments of feeling overwhelmed & under-prepared but then there were successes – moments of joy & laughter (while simultaneously crying) and a few life lessons learned. I had been setting my intentions on abundance and gratitude for the past few months…holy moly had it manifested itself.

When we set these intentions, they may not always show up as expected but, they are powerful in any sense. I just wrote my first essay/piece for a monthly newsletter (see the link for the challenge below). I had set an intention and now a date for my first workshop this year! I leave for Mexico in 4 days after I just got back from Chicago. Talk about abundance. My yoga schedule is just as full, if not more full, after updating my schedule to have one day off from teaching each week. So, what’s the point in all of this rambling? It made me think, this blog/site is about many things and one of them is coming together. Let’s set an intention – all together – for love. Love for others, for the things we enjoy and most importantly for ourselves. Whatever we set our big, fat hearts on (drop everything and watch Pitch Perfect if you miss that reference) we CAN create.

Cue the perfectly timed #loveTHYself challenge at Tree House Yoga here in Indianapolis. With a new owner and so many wonderful ideas evolving since the first of the year we finally decided to do something different. This challenge is about putting more loving acts out into the world no matter how big or small…it’s just more love. I honestly believe that if we can be more loving to ourselves we will find it easier to be loving towards others. If we have a full tank of gratitude + love to share then we aren’t left depleted, giving becomes more empowering.

Another one of those other grand ideas has already come to reality as we offer our first ever Teachers Yoga class. It’s about bringing a community of instructors together to make time for themselves on their mats. FOR FREE. Yes, free yoga classes for yoga teachers, every week. how perfect?! As an instructor I struggle with this from time-to-time and week-to-week. I know that caring for myself is a kind thing to do. Doing the same for others is also a very kind thing to do. I can’t thank the Universe enough for providing me with one more opportunity to take care of myself, so I can in turn take better care of my students.

All that being said, what I want for you is more love. I want you to remember where you come from – a source of unconditional love. Within each of us we carry a spark that comes from a pool of brilliant light. This light and love connects us all. As you go through each day this month, and the extra day at the end, try to be more loving + kind to your number one, Y.O.U.

with love & gratitude,

Xp

samyati | संयाति


what-the-what? sam-yetee.  huh? sum-yah-te. who knows…

i took etymology in college (A+).  medical terminology post-graduating for the ten seconds i thought about becoming a doctor (A++, and YES that’s possible).  along the way i learned the true power and importance of understanding the words in front of you. just when i thought i had a grip on things then came Sanskrit. it is one of the oldest, most sophisticated languages of all time.  a beautiful language that phonetically resonates within the body – subtle, energetic and physical.  which leads me to: saMyAti.  it was a Sanskrit word i didn’t know i was looking for.  the perfectly imperfect word that founds its way to me.

my family’s native tongue, Gujarati, has helped me along my journey with this ancient language.  i believe where we have been plays a significant role in where we are going.  until today, having my own website was merely just a dream.  i have thought of many names for many things, from the s corp i may or may not have some day to the children i would love to have and this website was one of them.  i was in search of a word that could hold space for the many things i believe in and suddenly it was there.  a rare word, for a rare bird (that’s me!) saMyAti: travel, wander, come together.  how perfect?  I was asked how they could be one and the same, yet so different…this is what i believe:

Travel: to change. to go somewhere.  to be.

Wander: to roam.  to enjoy the journey.  to be.

Come Together: to reconnect.  oneness.  TO BE.

i belive in the vitality of traveling, wandering & coming together in oneness.  i keep discovering more of myself as i work my way through these things over and over.  there is a beauty in being present in life’s journey, when you stop lingering in the past and release anxiousness about the future. the zest for life changes when you take the time to be.  my students hear this from me all of the time which leads me to the intention of this site…i look forward to sharing my experiences here and i hope to create space for you to do the same. let us come together with what resides in each one of us:

peace.  love.  & light.

Xp